“Two Spreading Viruses” - by Sandra Fischer
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
A disabling, contagious virus is spreading throughout the world, causing great harm to people. Its name is “anxiety”, exhibited by fear and panic. It’s a “companion” of the coronavirus that is causing illness and death in its wake. As Christians, we should do what we can to protect ourselves against the threat of both.
Paul exhorts us in his Philippian letter to be anxious about nothing, and there are hundreds of scriptures admonishing us to “fear not.” This does not mean we should mindlessly dismiss threats to our safety or wellbeing. In fact, the Greek word “merimnah” is translated two ways in the New Testament—one negatively, another positively. It means “worry” or “anxiety” when used in a negative sense, as when Jesus says, “Do not ‘worry’ about your life. . .” (Matthew 6:25 NKJV) When used in a positive way, it is translated as “concern” in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, ". . . there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal ‘concern’ (merimnah) for each other.” (1 Corinthians 12:25 NIV)
Worry or anxiety dwells on “what ifs” or future unknowns, while concern conveys positive aspects, focusing on a problem in a beneficial way. We should take reasoned measures to protect ourselves from exposure to a threatening viral disease, and if we trust God for things beyond our control, we will protect ourselves from the “anxiety” virus, too. Prayer is essential in dealing with both.
Father, help us deal with these viruses.
Sandra is a FaithWriters Platinum member, author of “Seasons in the Garden.” Contact